12-Year-Old May Hold Key to Solar Energy

andre kesteloot andre.kesteloot at verizon.net
Sat Sep 20 10:34:22 CDT 2008

*12-Year-Old May Hold Key to Solar Energy*
Alan Henry - PC Magazine Fri Sep 19, 7:15 AM ET

One significant problem with existing solar technology is that it's not 
terribly efficient at harvesting solar energy and turning it into 

Solar technology is improving all the time, but one 12-year-old boy may 
have the key to making solar panels that can harness 500 times the light 
of a traditional solar cell. William Yuan is a seventh grader in Oregon 
whose project, titled "A Highly-Efficient 3-Dimensional Nanotube Solar 
Cell for Visible and UV Light," may change the energy industry and make 
solar energy far easier to harness and distribute.

At the heart of Yuan's project is a special solar cell that can harness 
both visible and ultraviolet light. Most solar cells in use today are 
either photovoltaic, meaning they harness only visible light, or 
thermal. While visible, infrared, and ultraviolet light are all heavily 
scattered or absorbed by the Earth's atmosphere, ultraviolet light comes 
in at shorter wavelengths and with higher energy than both visible and 
infrared light. Ultraviolet light can provide more energy to a collector 
than other, longer-wavelength members of the electromagnetic spectrum. 
Yuan's solar cells are not just innovative for their collection of UV 
light, but also because they're engineered to stand freely in three 
dimensions (which allows them to collect more light) and make use of 
carbon nanotubes, which allow the cell to distribute the energy it 
collects without dissipating as much as traditional cells do.

Yuan is looking for a manufacturer to invest in building his new solar 
cell, and likely won't have a problem finding a partner. Yuan's solar 
cells have earned him a $25,000 scholarship to fund his education and 
research, a fellowship at the Davidson Institute for Talent Development, 
and a host of other awards in science and engineering. Yuan isn't the 
only young inventor making a difference, more and more young innovators 
are changing the face of clean technology.

Originally posted on GoodCleanTech.

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